A new Polaroid camera? In 2017? Well yes, sort of… and just in time for #PolaroidWeek!
First off: this camera is CUTE. Check this quick phone snap. (Proper product-type shots to follow, someday, when I do a proper review).
Everyone that’s seen it just ooos and ahhhs and I remember whens. The shape and color scheme are straight iconic Polaroid. It’s pretty.
So how did Polaroid end up putting out a new camera? If you don’t know already, Polaroid went bankrupt in 2001. The name and everything went to another Polaroid, and it too went bankrupt and stopped producing instant film in 2008, after which the name and intellectual property went to yet another new Polaroid, now mostly a branding company. A small group of people bought the last Polaroid factory, including the equipment, and over nearly a decade, reverse engineered and started producing new film for old Polaroids.
Then, Impossible’s majority shareholders* bought the name and intellectual property of Polaroid and merged it with Impossible. Now, they’ve put out a new camera and a new version film, they dropped the price on the film, down $5/pack, to $19 for the 600 film and $16 for the iType), and they’re now called Polaroid Originals.
This new camera is modeled closely on the 1977 OneStep…
but with all new guts from the Impossible i1 camera and some welcome additions, like a built-in auto flash, self timer, 8 led lights to count off exposures, and +/- exposure compensation. It also has an internal battery and can take the new, battery-free i-Type film packs, as well as 600 packs.
In the unboxing above, I took two quick selfies, one with the OneStep 2 and one with the Impulse SE, and I promised to put them up on my blog, so here they are. On the left, some old Impossible Project film (produced in January 2017) out of the Impulse SE; on the right, the new Polaroid Originals iType film. Both cameras popped the flash. The OneStep battery wasn’t at full charge, and it hesitated a bit before shooting, hence the unexcited look on my face.
The lens on the Impulse SE is sharp and the flash is nice and subtle, but the color is a little bit off, maybe, and I had to pull the closeup filter to get it to focus close enough for a selfy. The OneStep 2 focuses down to 2 feet natively, so no need for a closeup filter, but the flash is a little bit hot, and the color is a bit pink.
Also, after shooting a pack through the OneStep and the Impulse almost side by side, the Impulse is easy to hold, with clear grips on both sides, and the viewfinder, while not spot on, is accurate enough. The OneStep, while cute as anything and super easy to use, has some issues. The viewfinder is so far off as to be usable even for rough framing; they may as well have left if off and put a square bit of wire on the top instead. The slick black plastic attracts fingerprints like no other, and also, the plastic used in some areas is rather soft: I gently set it face down on my driveway and gently picked it back up, and now there are some nicks and dings in the plastic around the lens.
That said, I’m glad I picked up this camera. It’s just so good looking, and I guess I can get past the woefully inaccurate finder.
|Ease of Use|
The Polaroid Originals OneStep 2 performs well enough and at $100 it’s relatively inexpensive, but it has some issues with soft plastic and that laughable excuse for a finder. Still, it’s just so cute! Overall I’d give it a solid 4 stars. I’ll continue using the Impulse SE whenever I feel the urge, but I’m glad to have the OneStep2 around for the cheaper, iType film. It’s way cuter than the Impulse, for sure, but the older camera is really a better picture-taking machine.
Coming up, some pictures from the first 3 packs from this Polaroid Week! and some comparisons between the older Impossible film and newer Polaroid Originals film. Good times, God willing.
*TheSmolokowski family, headed up by Wiaczeslaw Smolokowski, co-founder of J+S Group and Mercuria Group, a global fuel and commodity trader, is
Impossible Polaroid Originals major shareholder, and Oskar Smolokowski is the CEO of Polaroid Originals.